2010 Big Cat Rescue is International in its Scope of Services
Summary: Between January 1, 2008 and September 10, 2010 Big Cat Rescue provided $393,405.75 in scholarships to provide housing, transportation, utilities, food, training and entertainment to 57 interns arriving in Tampa, FL from 10 countries and 18 states. Grants to projects saving wild cats in their natural habitats abroad included $15,681 to save snow leopards in the Himalayas, $7,000 to save tigers in India, Malaysia and China, $4,707.73 to save jaguars, ocelots, margay, jaguarundi and pumas in Guyana, South America and $500 to save clouded leopards in Borneo. Visitors to Big Cat Rescue included 806 foreigners from 51 countries and thousands of people from every state in the nation. Visitors often refer to their tour as a life changing event.
The following narrative describes the financial assistance provided around the globe as well as the immeasurable value Big Cat Rescue provides in conservation and education.
Big Cat Rescue Interns
Interns: Big Cat Rescue hosts up to a dozen interns from around the globe for three month sessions. There is no charge to the intern. Big Cat Rescue provides housing, transportation, food and one night a week of social integration. Between 2008 and September 2010 these benefits provided by Big Cat Rescue to out of state and foreign interns equaled $393,405.75
Big Cat Rescue provides a value of $6,099.00 per intern, per three month session. Other facilities charge $3,000.00 for the training that Big Cat Rescue provides for free. At current rental rates in Tampa, FL the value of housing provided per intern over the course of their 3 month stay is $2,100.00. The transportation to and from offsite events is the equivalent of $300.00 per 3 month session, per intern. The cost of providing utilities, food and entertainment for the interns equals $699.00 per intern session.
During their time here, interns not only learn the best practices in animal care, they learn compassion for the animals as sentient beings and they learn how to get along with each other. They learn each others customs and how to appreciate the value that each brings to the situation. Before their time is up, they will have learned responsibility, gentleness, teamwork, self reliance, proper feeding and handling methods of wild carnivores and operant conditioning. Interns are encouraged to stay current on conservation issues, and are taken out weekly to learn how to track animals in the wild and learn the names and uses of the plant species they encounter. Interns will be capable of leading tours, public speaking, gift shop sales duties, customer services and a host of other skills that will enable them to earn a living that will enable them to give back to the animals and nature. It is the best way that we can seed the planet with people who have respect and consideration for all life.
The following is a list of interns from around the globe in 2008-2010 who were selected by Big Cat Rescue as the best candidates to come spend 3 months on site. Service dates are listed as date arrived-date departed and value provided per intern.
Norris Stopsley, UK 11/10/07 – 2/10/08 $5,859.00
Amy Norris, Bedfordshire, England, 11/11/2007 - 2/5/2008 $5,859.00
Shannon Dixon, Brampton, Ontario, Canada, 2/9/2008 - 5/9/2008 $5,859.00
Fiona Giannandrea, Plymouth, Devon, England, 2/16/2008 - 5/9/2008 $5,859.00
Natasha Wouters, Windsor, Ontario, Canada, 3/15/2008 - 6/15/2008 $5,859.00
Richard Shaw, Woodley, Reading, UK, 4/19/2008 - 7/15/2008 $5,859.00
Fran Donnelly, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, 5/17/2008 - 11/17/2008, 1/27/09 - 4/21/09 $11.718.00
Sarah Kirkpatrick-Wahl, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, 5/17/2008 - 8/17/2009, 12/18/08 - 1/6/09 $6,500.00
Daniel Fryer, Harrogate, England, 9/13/2008 - 12/10/2008 $5,859.00
Adam Howson, Cheshire, England, 10/4/2008 - 12/27/2008 $5,859.00
Gemma Mead, Fayfield, Essex, UK, 2/28/2009 - 5/25/2009 $5,859.00
Ronan McGrath, Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands, 3/14/2009 - 4/11/2009 $1953.00
Lisa Bartlett, Tasmania, Australia, 6/1/2009 - 8/24/2009 $5,859.00
Joep Van Belkom, Nijmegan, Netherlands, 8/22/2009 – 11/19/09 $5,859.00
Tristan Cullen, Auckland, New Zealand, 4/11/2009 - 6/30/2009 & 10/2/10 – 1/30/10 $11,718.00
Christine Bunyard, Bucks, Uk, 10/31/09 – 1/27/10 $6099.00
Lisa Ravndam, Kobenhavn, Denmark, 11/21/09 – 2/8/10 $6099.00
Cindy Bieri, Bevdix, Switzerland, 1/19/10 – 1/29/10 $488.25
Carlos Suarez, Atizapan de Zaragoza, Mexico, 3/13/10 – 6/4/10 $6099.00
Emma Buck, Norfolk, UK, 6/9/10 – 9/31/10 $6099.00
USA by State Interns
Ashley (Tyler) Harris, Montgomery, AL, US, 1/8/2009 - 2/17/2009 $5,859.00
Elizabeth Wilson, Newbury Park, CA, US, 9/13/2008 - 12/13/2008 $5,859.00
Courtney Towne, Humbolt, CA, US, 2/20/10 – 5/21/10 $6099.00
Emily Putt, Santa Cruz, CA, US, 6/16/10 – 7/12/10 $1953.00
Adam Silverman, Storrs, CT, US, 5/21/2009 - 8/13/2009 $5,859.00
Nicole Perkins, Woodbridge, CT, US, 8/18/2009 - 11/18/09 $5,859.00
Sarah Bowen, Tampa, FL, US, 8/8/2009 – 1/27/10 $11,718.00
Heather Groeneveld, Lake Worth, FL US, 5/26/10 – 8/17/10 $6099.00
Jessica McLaughlin, Lake Worth, FL, US, 2/27/10 – 3/10/10 $976.50
Lainie McCormick, Tampa, FL, US, 9/5/2009 – 2/19/10 $11,718.00
Lauren Ebanks, Tampa, FL, US, 4/29/2008 - 2/28/09, 12/29/09 – 3/30/10 $27,342.00
Taylor Parker, Tampa, FL, US, 5/12/10 – 8/3/10 $6099.00
Chelsea Feeny, Mount Vernon, IA, US, 3/7/2009 - 5/30/2009 $5,859.00
Jessie Roberts, Topeka, KS, US, 1/17/2009 - 4/17/2009 $5,859.00
Jacob Harshman, Paducah, KY, US, 5/16/2009 - 8/7/2009 $5,859.00
Samantha Kowalski, Gardner, MA, US, 11/17/2007 - 2/16/2008 $5,859.00
Andrew Briggs, Lexington, MA, US, 5/24/2008 - 8/24/2008, 3/9/09 - 3/16/09, 1/6/10 – 2/22/10 $9765
Erin Barber, Forest Hill, MD, US, 5/24/2008 - 11/24/2008, 1/19/09 - 4/19/09 $11,718.00
Jaydin Clouse, Ely, MN, US, 5/17/2008 - 8/17/2008 $5,859.00
Darla Ostenson, Minneapolis, MN, US, 8/22/2009 – 11/21/09, 1/29/10 – 5/30/10 $18,671.00
William Boswell, Springfield, MO, US, 5/17/2008 - 8/10/2008 $5,859.00
Joseph Nelson, Hickory, NC, US, 12/3/2008 - 2/18/2009 $5,859.00
Mary Haberstich, Lincoln, NE, US, 7/18/2009 - 9/14/2009, 2/1/10 – 7/11/10 $15,864.00
Andrew Gall, Omaha, NE, US, 5/18/2009 – 11/12/09, 1/1/10 – 1/8/10 $10,741.00
Sarah Halpern, Scotch Plains, NJ, US, 9/1/10 – present $976.50
Big Cat Rescues Outside of Florida
SOPHIA Cougar 1/21/2009 Louisiana Wildlife & Fisheries 2000 Quail Dr. Baton Rouge, LA 70808
DESIREE Serval 10/11/2009 Tucson Wildlife Center AZ
NARLA Cougar 1/8/2010 Marilyn L. Loppi 47 Whipple Rd Chepacher, RI 02814-1356
MIDNIGHT, RAIN & STORM Bobcats for Rehab 4/18/2010 AL vet sent here after a hunter shot their mom and brought them in to raise as pets. They will be released back to the wild in the spring of 2011.
S.A.F.E. in the Wild Grants
(Saving Animals From Extinction)
Feb. 6, 2008: Invested $922.90 into camera traps to monitor the behavior of jaguars, ocelots, margay, jaguarundi and puma in Guyana, South America. In 2008 Big Cat Rescue President, Jamie Veronica, Marc Johnson, of Foster Parrots and paying eco tourism guests returned to Guyana to continue talks with the Amerindian people about the need for a wildlife protection and addressing this issue through the further development of an eco-tourism project. They met with Guyana Member of Parliament Shirley Melville. An Arawak Amerindian and a strong advocate for Amerindian rights, M.P. Shirley Melville had also been highly active in conservation and environmental protection issues. Embracing the project with tremendous enthusiasm, Nappi Village has dedicated 250 square miles of tribal territory as protected conservation land and was chosen as the site for the first eco-tour lodge complex.
The country of Guyana, famously rich in bio-diversity, is one of the least populated tropical countries in the world with a population of only 850,000 inhabitants. With only three percent of its 80,000 square miles inhabited it is, unfortunately, one of only two countries in South America that still legally exports parrots and other wildlife for the pet trade. In fact, Guyana has been one of the top exporters of wild parrots in the world and remains active in trapping parrots, wild cats, primates, reptiles, sea turtles and various other land and sea animals.
Trapping and exportation of native species has been, for generations, one of Guyana 's only means of generating income for the indigenous people. However, closer examination of the trade in wildlife reveals grim realities of the animal export trade; decimation of native wildlife species and habitat is leading to irreversible elimination of the very source of income. The native people, who are essential in the harvesting of these resources, earn an abysmal fraction of the value of the exported animals. In a country where the average annual income is little more than $1,000.00, the income derived through the capture of wildlife and habitat destruction remains attractive.
The native Amerindian tribes of Guyana, now becoming aware of the need to protect their forests and wildlife, are expressing the desire to take control of the ecological destiny of their country rather than bow down to the exploitation of animal trades, miners and loggers currently at liberty to devastate Guyana 's natural heritage.
Project Guyana enables us to take the first steps towards protecting and preserving Guyana 's native wildlife by offering a more financially attractive and culturally desirable alternative to poaching. Through the development of this viable eco-tourism project entire Amerindian communities can benefit from the income derived from hosting visitors, who are often sympathetic to their needs. Eco-tourism will create sustainable employment opportunities for the indigenous people of Guyana who can bring their acute knowledge of their natural resources and their many skills and crafts to a new and exciting international market. It will not only lend economic strength to participating communities, but will provide a canopy of protection for the native species whose values as wild animals far exceeds the cost of a destructive and self-serving exotic pet trade.
Eco-Tour Attractions: Visitors to Guyana will have a choice of tour itineraries ranging from an ambitious 3 and 4-day Kanuku Mountains hike that will bring them to the realm of the Harpy Eagle, to more leisurely tours that will encompass sightings of Red Bellied, Scarlet, Red and Green, Blue and Yellow Macaws, Giant Anteaters and a wide variety of primates. Horseback and canoe excursions will let tour groups experience the wilds of Guyana at an intimate level. Visitors can also travel to Kaeiteur Falls to witness one of the world's tallest single-drop waterfalls of 741 feet. Construction on the first of two planned lodge complexes, located in Nappi Village, has been completed by the local tribes with funds from Foster Parrots and Big Cat Rescue.
Successful eco-tours were led from the US to Guyana in 2007-2008 generating $4,000.00 + to the people of Guyana, SA through Foster Parrots and $1,300.00 from Big Cat Rescue. On her visits she set camera traps to learn the migratory routes of the native cats and taught the villagers how to change the film and send it to her via an Internet café 7 hours away. Big Cat Rescue has invested a total of 2,907.73 into camera traps for the project. Meanwhile native handicrafts are being sold in our gift shop just like we are doing for Africa and the Snow Leopard Trust. Big Cat Rescue will continue to assist Project Guyana by arranging eco tourism adventures where all of the proceeds go to the Amerindians to enable them to protect their native wildlife and their heritage.
Dec. 1, 2009: $500 grant to the Snow Leopard Trust to save snow leopards in Tibet, China, India, Kyrgyz Republic, Mongolia and Pakistan. This was in addition to $4,865 donated in 2008, $4,631 donated in 2009 and $3,185 YTD in 2010. Big Cat Rescue also created and donated 500 snow leopard screen savers to the Snow Leopard Trust at a cost of $2,500.00 with a retail value of $5,000.00. Big Cat Rescue is the second largest retailer for Snow Leopard Enterprises generating $15,681 since 2008 for the local people in the snow leopard’s region.
Every year since 1997 Big Cat Rescue has donated to the countries that are home to the Himalayan mountain range where the elusive snow leopard is found. One whole room of our on site gift shop explains how the sale of items made by the villagers helps save the snow leopard in the wild.
The snow leopard lives in regions where the average person makes the equivalent of $1.00 per day. Most of the people who share the same highlands with the snow leopard are herders and to them, the loss of one sheep or goat can mean the difference in their survival. Most of the snow leopards that are killed are retribution killings; meaning that the cat has been blamed for killing one of the herd and the herdsman has killed the next snow leopard he saw. The herdsman can eat the cat and sell the hide for 25.00 which for them is a month’s wage. There are many other middle men along the way who are anxious to get their hands on a snow leopard pelt or penis for the Asian medicinal trade or for the black market. The pelt dramatically becomes more valuable as it goes down the line and can cost $5,000.00 or more to the final buyer. Brad pointed out, that it is a good thing that the dead animal is worth so little to the people who are most responsible for killing them however as that makes this practice far more financially feasible to stop.
The Snow Leopard Trust members in China, India, Kyrgyz Republic, Mongolia and Pakistan work closely with the local people to find out what they need. In some cases, they can create handicrafts like those we sell and make five times what they can make from herding. Over the years, the Snow Leopard Trust has brought in marketing people and craftsmen to show the local people how to create items that are marketable.
The programs are structured with reducing reliance on Snow Leopard Trust funds for each consecutive year and to remain in the program the community must ensure that no snow leopards are killed. If anyone in the community kills a snow leopard, the entire community risks losing their right to participate in the program for a year and that is enough to keep everyone watching out for the snow leopard. Their claims of protection must verified by the game wardens and governmental agencies who actually have incentives to discover poaching because they are often paid a portion of the confiscation if they can catch a poacher.
Dec. 2009: Volunteers at Big Cat Rescue are saving Leopards and Tigers in the wild by shipping %$!@ . We're not going to say it, but its four letters and something we deal with every day when cleaning cages. Find out how Leopard %$!@ is being used to train game warden dogs to protect Leopards and Tigers in the wild here: http://bigcatrescue.org/cats/wild/leopard_save.htm
Dec. 1, 2009: $500 grant to the Panthera's Jaguar Corridor Initiative in Central and South America.
Dec. 1, 2009: $500 grant to the Borneo Wild Cat & Clouded Leopard project.
Feb. 26, 2010: Big Cat Rescue granted $5,000 to sponsor the information booth at Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) in Doha, Qatar for the International Tiger Coalition, which is a group of 40 organizations committed to saving the tiger. The goal is 10,000 tigers in the wild in 10 years. There are less than 3,000 in the wild currently and we are losing one per day due to poaching. We persuaded ITC to keep US tiger farming issue as part of their mission to eradicate because legalized trade puts even more pressure on wild populations.
The booth in Doha, Qatar featured ITC information materials, a continuous feed of ITC videos and tiger-striped giveaways (such as lanyards from which to hang CoP15 identification badges.) Over 1,500 delegates representing more than 170 governments, indigenous people, non-governmental organizations and businesses are attending the world conference. We also sponsored our ITC moderator, Judy Mills, to attend the conference to present an intervention to save the tigers who are being farmed in China.
We have seen the result of our joint efforts. "We will ask our members not to use endangered wildlife in traditional Chinese medicine, and reduce the misunderstanding and bias of the international community," said the World Federation of Chinese Medicines Societies' Huang Jianyin. "The traditional Chinese medicine industry should look for substitutes and research on economical and effective substitutes for tiger products, which will improve the international image and status of traditional Chinese medicine and promote TCM in the world," he added.
We were there as part of this 40+ member coalition of tiger protection groups to ask that CITES parties enact stronger measures, such as trade bans on other products, to end the trade in tigers, their parts and derivatives. CITES parties have been trying to end the trade in tigers since adopting a strong position in 1993, but China has only paid lip service to the treaty and now is openly opposing it in hopes of opening up the trade in tigers, so that a handful of business men can profit on the 6,500 tigers they have been breeding and stockpiling in tiny, barren cages.
The US has been complicit in this scheme as well though, as Americans are the second largest consumer of tiger parts and our lax laws and even more lax enforcement provide a legal cover for illegal activity. When almost anyone can own a tiger in the US, with very little oversight, then it is easy for tigers who have been poached in the wild, at a much cheaper cost than raising them, to end up being sold here. If you pay to see baby tigers or pay to hold them in photos, you are hurting tigers; both the ones who will lead miserable lives in cages and those in the wild that are being poached and killed for their parts.
March 11, 2010: Big Cat Rescue granted $2,000 more to the International Tiger Coalition to enable their continued efforts of saving tigers in the wild. What makes this initiative unlike all of the past programs is two fold. 40 major conservation groups, including Big Cat Rescue, have joined forces with one common goal: Save the tiger in the wilds of India, Russia, China, Sumatra and Indonesia. There have been other joint efforts, but none this large and never before has an entity as powerful as the World Bank been a committed partner in saving wild places for wild animals.
Harrison Ford, one of Hollywood's hottest actors, thanks to his latest Indiana Jones movie breaking records in theaters, is on the board of Conservation International and spoke at the June 9th launch. Also in attendance were our friend, the beautiful Bo Derek, who won the Wildlife Guardian Award at the Fur Ball last year, and Robert Duvall. HSUS brought Tiger Kids to the launch and this photo is from their participation as a ITC members. See these celebrities up close and purrsonal in the most important roles of their lives in this video we shot and find out more about how the World Bank and the International Tiger Coalition plan to save the tiger.
Big Cat Rescue Efforts Outside of Florida
March 2, 2009: Big Cat Rescue was the featured story at Encyclopedia Britannica for the second time with Big Cat Bailout. Anita Wolff had contacted Jamie Veronica to ask for permission to use some of her photos and she suggested they contact Carole Baskin about some of the legislative work we are doing. Encyclopedia Britannica devotes an impressive section of their site as a source of information, a call for action, and a stimulus to thought regarding humanity's relationship with the animals with whom we share our planet. They support worldwide efforts to ensure humane treatment of animals, develop the understanding of their nature, promote their survival, and protect and restore the environment. We are honored to be a part of the great work they are doing to educate, inform and enlighten.
March 5, 2009: Provided photos and video of snow leopards for an interactive touch screen kiosk that will be used in the Big Cat Falls exhibit at the Philadelphia Zoo in PA. The goal of the kiosk is to increase awareness of the leopards and to promote preservation efforts.
The illegal portion of the 15 billion dollar trade in exotic pets is second only to the market for illegal drugs. In 2005, some 210 million wild animals were brought legally into the U.S. and many more were smuggled, because there are just 120 USFWS inspectors to cover 39 International airports and all of the border crossings. In just the legal importations, that means each inspector must view and approve the health of almost 15,000 animals per day, every day of the year. Big Cat Rescue provided the photos and resources for an eBay guide to let buyers and sellers know that it is illegal to trade in many exotic cat furs. We also provided this information to the World Wildlife Fund in Poland to enable them to train their border guards to recognize endangered cat species that are frequently smuggled through customs. Provided bobcat and Canada lynx photos and info for a scientific training / educational presentation on wildlife awareness for Environment Canada.
March 26, 2009: CEO Carole Baskin was a featured speaker at the 11th International Wildlife Law Conference held at Stetson University College of Law in Gulfport, FL. With collaboration of Big Cat Rescue's President, Jamie Veronica a first time presentation was made on the pros and cons of eco tourism. Later, 25 law students, alumni and faculty toured Big Cat Rescue with Carole as their guide. This two hour tour focused on the plight of the cats and the danger to communities due to the lack of regulation and enforcement. By coincidence, that same day, the Sheriff's department called the sanctuary to ask who might have tigers in the area, because a retired deputy had called in a sighting of one alongside the Veteran's Expressway. No tiger was found, but Big Cat Rescue provided a list of big cat owners to the police since they cannot easily access that data from the FWC. These tours are provided, free of charge annually to both Stetson animal law students and Eckerd College students of environmental ethics.
April 22, 2009 - present: Began working with Dr. Wynn's CO colleague and FWC epidemiologist on research involving FIV in bobcats and FL panthers. Began testing all road kill for FIV, as well as testing bobcats who are reported frequenting human habitation if we can safely trap and release them without too much stress to them. Sept. 1, 2010 presented CO findings that bobcats had gone from a 24% mortality rate to an 84% mortality rate in the past 5 years due to secondary rat poisonings to Florida Wildlife Commission and asked that similar studies be performed in FL populations.
May 31, 2009: We assisted in the rehabilitation of an orphaned baby bobcat in NC. Nina Fischesser, Director, Blue Ridge Wildlife Institute Lees-McRae College, Banner Elk, NC 28604 asked for our help in conditioning this bobcat for release.
June 1, 2009 NJ: The Palisades Park Library has always presented diverse programming, and in May, Carol Zaccagnini’s ESL class learned about Big Cat Rescue http://bigcatrescue.org a non-profit educational sanctuary in Tampa Florida that provides permanent homes to tigers, lions, leopards, cougars and other wild cats. The cats are retired performers, former pets, or have been rescued from abusive and neglectful situations as well as the fur trade. Presentation by By AdvoCat Darlene M. De Santis – Tech Services, Palisades Park Library
July 9, 2009 As part of the 40 member International Tiger Coalition we celebrated remarks by the World Bank at the CITES Standing Committee 58 stating that legalizing tiger farming is too great a gamble for the world to take if tigers are to have a future in the wild. "Having carefully weighed the economics argument, we urge the CITES community to uphold the ban on wild tiger products and for all countries to continue to ban the domestic trade of wild tigers," said Keshav Varma, Director at the World Bank and leader of the Bank's Global Tiger Initiative at the 58th meeting of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species Standing Committee.
Feb. 9, 2010: Volunteer Committee Member, Sharyn Beach, was published at Encyclopedia Britannica with the best statement ever written about why breeding white tigers is Conserving a Lie.
September 10, 2010: Create training videos for accredited sanctuaries. Link to playlist of all four video clips: http://www.youtube.com/view_play_list?p=AD398FB8518A6EB8 Will be offering a two day webinar on Sept. 27 & 28 described as follows:
Time is money, and both are in short supply these days. That is why having a central depository for all of your important documents and a hub for all of your key staff and volunteers is so important. In this webinar you will learn how to use google's free Education App to create an internal website, that is password protected, even if you have no experience in web design.
Big Cat Rescue's Carole Baskin will take you inside their internal site and show you how they:
1. Initiate new volunteers and keep all of their training documents up to date and easily accessible.
2. Track and manage fundraisers.
3. Inspire volunteers and staff through posting blogs and important updates and enabling two way conversations.
4. Enable staff & volunteers to report observations about the animal's health and maintenance issues so that the vet can log in from anywhere and assess trends.
5. Share photos and videos with only those we have cleared to see them.
6. Manage calendars to schedule volunteers for duty and to announce training classes.
7. Manage the daily med charts to document who gave the animals their meds.
8. Frequently asked question pages such as how do I get a promotion, or how do I resolve a dispute with another team member (see Code of Honor)
9. Post awards for outstanding service in a fun way that makes everyone want to do more.
10. See sub sites that can be limited to just specific people such as the Vet care group, or the Enrichment Committee or the Board of Directors where they have all of the same features, but with only specific people having access.
More ways we have provided services outside of Florida:
Our web site addresses local and global concerns about environment and has over 17,000 pages of information, movie clips, sounds, safe interactive online games with a conservation theme and photos. From 1/1/2008 until 9/9/2010 the site was visited 4,496,541 times, resulting in 11,967,069 page views. In any given week the visitors will be roughly 33% from 223 countries outside of the U.S. as you can see from this breakdown:
United States 3,377,953, Canada 228,482, United Kingdom 200,286, Poland 193,497, Australia 76,951, India 44,695, Germany 20,366, Japan 18,079, New Zealand 15,619, France 14,483, & South Africa 12,689. The information provided has helped wildlife rehabilitators identify animals and obtain proper care instruction, helped officials in smuggling cases to identify rare species of exotic cats being illegally traded and those are just a few of the ways that we know the site has had an impact this year.
Italy: On November 21, 2008 we began assisting the Parco Zoo Punta Verde in Lignano Sabbiadoro, Italy in a three-year study on Caracal caracal for the purpose of providing information on the species to expand the knowledge of the behavioral, social and pathological state of Caracal caracal in captivity and to create husbandry guidelines on species.
Australia: In 2009 we modified our Children's DNA ID disks so that they can be used in Australia and MO as well as FL and distributed 140 via the Assemblies of God in Springfield.
Big Cat Rescue Makes National News
Big Cat Rescue has been in the press 649 times, in 31+ states including AL, AZ, CA, CO, CT, DC, GA, FL, HI, IO, IN, IL, KY, LA, MA, MN, MO, MT, NC, NH, NJ, NM, NY, NC, OH, OK, PA, SC, TN, VA & WA and dozens of programs of national or international coverage or in countries other than the U.S. Only the largest national and international stories are listed below:
The following are just the non Florida news stories about Big Cat Rescue 2008-2010.
647 9/8/2010: Jeff Kremer did a half hour radio show on Life Improvement Radio.
646 6/28/2010 Carole Baskin was interviewed on Chris Ravencraft's Podcast called The Virtual Assistant. Find it in iTunes, episode 11.
645 6/23/2010 The Britney Spears Gossip blog named us in her 50 Offbeat Florida Attractions saying, The world's largest big cat rescue and sanctuary, Big Cat Rescue is home to lions, tigers, cougars, leopards, bobcats, ocelots, servals, lynx, caracals and other exotic cats. Guided educational tours of Big Cat Rescue are available...
644 6/22/2010 Inside Nature's Giants - Big Cats Ligers aired in the U.K. starring Freckles, our liger.
638 4/30/2010 Christopher Collette of WTSP 10 mentioned us again in the coverage they did of the bobcats kittens at the Carolina Wildlife Care center who were adopted by a tabby named Zoe.
637 4/29/2010 The orphaned bobcat kittens and their adoptive mom, Bobbi, were featured on CNN.
636 4/29/2010 The orphaned bobcat kittens and their adoptive mom, Bobbi, were featured on USA Today.
635 4/29/2010 The orphaned bobcat kittens and their adoptive mom, Bobbi, were featured in TV Guide.
631 4/29/2010 The orphaned bobcat kittens and their adoptive mom, Bobbi, were featured on the Today Show and syndicated on Hulu.
623 4/29/2010 The orphaned bobcat kittens and their adoptive mom, Bobbi, were featured on MSNBC.
620 4/29/2010 The orphaned bobcat kittens and their adoptive mom, Bobbi, were featured on WSBTV 2 in Atlanta, GA.
619 4/29/2010 The orphaned bobcat kittens and their adoptive mom, Bobbi, were featured on ABC WEAR 3 in Alabama.
618 4/29/2010 The orphaned bobcat kittens and their adoptive mom, Bobbi, were featured on FOX 17 in Nashville, TN.
617 4/29/2010 The orphaned bobcat kittens and their adoptive mom, Bobbi, were featured on WAVY TV in VA.
616 4/29/2010 The orphaned bobcat kittens and their adoptive mom, Bobbi, were featured in Examiner.com
615 4/29/2010 The orphaned bobcat kittens and their adoptive mom, Bobbi, were featured on Charleston, SC.
614 4/29/2010 The orphaned bobcat kittens and their adoptive mom, Bobbi, were featured on WLTX in Columbia, SC.
613 4/29/2010 The orphaned bobcat kittens and their adoptive mom, Bobbi, were featured on KOAT 7 in Albuquerque, NM.
612 4/29/2010 The orphaned bobcat kittens and their adoptive mom, Bobbi, were featured on Pittsburgh, PA.
611 4/29/2010 The orphaned bobcat kittens and their adoptive mom, Bobbi, were featured on Philly.com in Philadelphia, PA.
610 4/29/2010 The orphaned bobcat kittens and their adoptive mom, Bobbi, were featured on NBC 4 in Columbus, OH.
609 4/29/2010 The orphaned bobcat kittens and their adoptive mom, Bobbi, were featured on Care 2
608 4/29/2010 The orphaned bobcat kittens and their adoptive mom, Bobbi, were featured on San Jose, CA
607 4/29/2010 The orphaned bobcat kittens and their adoptive mom, Bobbi, were featured on Bing Video.
606 4/29/2010 The orphaned bobcat kittens and their adoptive mom, Bobbi, were featured in the LA Times in Los Angeles, CA.
605 4/29/2010 The orphaned bobcat kittens and their adoptive mom, Bobbi, were featured on NECN in Boston, MA.
604 4/29/2010 The orphaned bobcat kittens and their adoptive mom, Bobbi, were featured on WLWT 5 in Cincinnati, OH.
599 4/29/2010 The orphaned bobcat kittens and their adoptive mom, Bobbi, were featured on KIRO TV in Seattle, WA.
598 4/29/2010 The orphaned bobcat kittens and their adoptive mom, Bobbi, were featured on WBIR in Knoxville, TN.
597 4/29/2010 The orphaned bobcat kittens and their adoptive mom, Bobbi, were featured in the Tennessean.
596 4/29/2010 The orphaned bobcat kittens and their adoptive mom, Bobbi, were featured on WRAL in Raliegh, NC.
595 4/29/2010 The orphaned bobcat kittens and their adoptive mom, Bobbi, were featured on Celebrity Gossip.
594 4/29/2010 The orphaned bobcat kittens and their adoptive mom, Bobbi, were featured on INDY 6 in Indiana.
592 4/29/2010 The orphaned bobcat kittens and their adoptive mom, Bobbi, were featured on WMUR 9 in New Hampshire.
591 4/29/2010 The orphaned bobcat kittens and their adoptive mom, Bobbi, were featured on KITV 4 in Honolulu, HI
586 2/9/2010 Volunteer Committee Member, Sharyn Beach, was published at Encyclopedia Britannica with the best statement ever written about why breeding white tigers is Conserving a Lie.
586 2/8/2010 Supreme Master TV ran a feature in Animal World called Big Cats in Crisis using footage provided by Big Cat Rescue's Chris Poole.
583 12/29/09 Carole Baskin was quoted in the Advocate about Tony the Truck Stop Tiger, “I am very sorry to hear that the tiger will continue to live in that miserable situation.” More a FreeTony.com
582 12/18/09 Animal Planet announced that Scott Lope won the Animal Planet Hero of the Year award. Thanks to all of our supporters Scott got more votes than the other nine candidates combined and he was in some very good company of fellow animal heroes. These 10 had been chosen from 7000 nominees.
578 12/17/09 Business Wire's press release ran in NY and Palo Alto, CA announcing that Big Cat Rescue won $25,000 in facebook's contest which turned out to be the largest social media contest of all time, gathering more than 1 million new bank fans.
577 12/9/09 The Extraordinaries, which include Big Cat Rescue, were featured on ABC news in San Francisco.
576 12/2/09 Jeff Corwin's new book 100 Hearbeats lists Big Cat Rescue in the resource section under Feline.
575 12/1/09 The Extraordinaries published an interview with Carole Baskin, CEO of Big Cat Rescue about how they are using the crowd to stop big cat abuse.
573 12/1/09 Brit Bravo of The Extraordinaries interviewed Big Cat Rescue's Founder and CEO, Carole Baskin about her implementation of an iPhone app to end animal abuse.
571 11/1/09 National Geographic did a one page piece called Don't Hold That Tiger that contrasted the practices of Vernon Yates' who charges to take his tiger cubs to parties to Big Cat Rescue and other sanctuaries' philosophies about such cruelty.
569 10/11/09 In Tucson, AZ someone did let their wild cat out about a 3 weeks ago and never reported her missing. KOLD reporter Van Nguyen reported that the cat was on its way to Big Cat Rescue and that officials think this serval may have been brought into the U.S. to breed with domestic cats.
567 10/6/09 Carole Baskin was interviewed by Cyndi Edwards on NBC's affiliate WFLA Daytime show about Big Cat Rescue's participation in TBO Rewards. This segment will air several times locally and nationally.
564 9/27/09 The Ledger ran an editorial about a man's visit to Big Cat Rescue called Saving More Than 9 Lives.
557 9/24/09 Reporter Cara at Associated Content told her readers about why Big Cat Rescue is THE place for lovers on Valentine's Day.
550 9/10/09 TIME Magazine featured BeExtra which is the new iPhone app that enables anyone and everyone to be an animal abuse investigator.
549 9/9/09 Change.org blogged about how Big Cat Rescue leads the way for non profits on You Tube.
548 9/3/09 The History Channel aired the premiere of Tigers in the Suburbs. This is a great show that documents how there are too few laws and even poorer enforcement that is resulting in leopards roaming America. See Big Cat Rescue's Operations Manager, Scott Lope talking about the industry that breeds and discards baby lions, tigers and other exotic cats into the pet trade.
545 8/13/09 History Channel premiered Monster Quest's episode called Killer Chimps. Big Cat Rescue Operations manager, Scott Lope, got in the last word about why dangerous animals should not be kept as pets.
541 6/28/09 The New York Post quoted Big Cat Rescue Operations Manager Scott Lope in a story they did about a woman who claims to be saving cheetahs by keeping them as pets. Kirsten Fleming wrote, "Scott Lope, operations manager of Big Cat Rescue in Tampa, Fla., says sleeping with big cats is a bad idea. "The biggest misconception is that when you raise these animals, that they are somehow tame," he said. "They're dangerous creatures. That doesn't change because someone sleeps in a bed with them."
540 6/22/09 Romow listed Big Cat Rescue as one of the top five tourist attractions in Tampa Bay FL.
539 6/21/09 Big Cat Rescue's Three Word Video aired on Good Morning America.
535 6/18/09 The Suwanee Democrat mentioned Big Cat Rescue in a story about brothers Rhett and Brian Barker ages 15 and 11, who will be featured on an upcoming episode of Nickelodeon's "Nick News with Linda Ellerbee" July 12 at 9 p.m. thanks to the success of their Internet show "Teen Wilderness" on YouTube. The pair has visited several state parks and even filmed at Big Cat Rescue, an animal sanctuary in Tampa.
532 6/13/09 Brian Bishop of The Daily News in Sayr, PA reported the opening day of the Ribbons of Hope Foundation’s spring craft fair raises money for many non-profit organizations, such as the Bradford County Humane Society, the Sayre VFW, SERVE Inc., Boy Scouts and scholarship programs, as well as some national-level organizations, such as the Big Cat Rescue in Florida. The event is all about trying to supplement the incomes of non-profits.
527 5/3/09 Connections for Women featured Big Cat Rescue in their Caring & Sharing section. On 5/13/09 they made our article their cover story.
523 4/15/09 Dee Santis, Big Cat Rescue AdvoCat was featured in the Bergen News in Palisades, NJ.
522 4/15/09 We were featured in Reader's Digest Off the Beaten Path: "Planning a trip to Florida? Why not stop at Tampa's Big Cat Rescue, where you can see endangered cougars, tigers, and lions in a protected sanctuary?"
521 4/8/09 Laura Legere, reporter for the PA Times Tribune covered Big Cat Rescue's policies in rescuing cats from repeat offenders, saying, "Carole Baskin, CEO of Big Cat Rescue, said she may be able to provide a permanent home to Genesis’ lynx and cougar if the animals’ owner, Margaret Miller, signs a contract — part of the sanctuary’s protocol — agreeing never to take another big cat."
517 3/24/09 The New York Times listed Big Cat Rescue as the thing to do in Tampa in their Travel section.
515 3/6/09 Nathan Stubbs, reporter for the Independent Weekly quoted Big Cat Rescue on the issue of the tiger held hostage at the Tiger Truck Stop, "We are happy that J. Mitchell Ourso vetoed the Council’s ruling, but the council can still over rule his veto with a 2/3’s vote. Ourso is asking the council to change the amendment to include measures that would make the Tiger Truck Stop more safe and more humane. There is no way to do either, but I am sure that if they do it at all, it will be some lip service language that does not really address either issue.”
514 3/2/09 Encyclopedia Britannica ran Carole Baskin's Big Cat Bailout story.
512 3/1/09 Carole Baskin was interviewed on KNX 1070AM news radio in Los Angeles, CA about the exotic cat pet trade.
510 2/14/09 Allison Pataki, reporter for Fox News quoted Carole Baskin of Big Cat Rescue in the piece called, "Claws Come Out in Fight Over Tony the Truck-Stop Tiger" saying "Carole Baskin, CEO of the Big Cat Rescue has extended repeated offers to Sandlin to move Tony to her facility. "Our care is absolutely the best, we provide the best food, we have the best employees, and we're an accredited preserve," Baskin says."
508 2/11/09 Deidre Cruse, reporter for Post South in Plaquemine, LA quoted Carole Baskin of Big Cat Rescue in the article called, "Grosse Tete tiger draws international attention" about Tony the Truck Stop tiger, saying "Baskin said her organization's supporters have generated nearly 14,000 letters complaining of conditions at the truck stop and asking for the tiger to be sent Big Cat Rescue."
507 2/11/09 The Kentucky Enquirer, a daily newspaper with a circulation 49,356 ran Zach Dunkin's story about Big Cat Rescue called Super Natural Attractions.
505 1/25/09 Patricia Borns of the Boston Globe recommends a visit to Big Cat Rescue to everyone coming here for the Super Bowl.
502 1/11/09 The Cincinnati Enquirer ran Zach Duncan's story called Sanctuary by the Sea where he recalls, "Access to the sanctuary is by guided tour only. Knowledgeable docents from a staff of more than 100 volunteers take groups of 10 to 15 visitors on a 90-minute tour along a winding, level trail of sand through the various cat habitats. As guests learn facts about each cat and their behaviors in the wild, they get a closer look than they would ever get at most zoos. Every cat housed here has a story, and the guides are eager to tell it -- like Nikita, the lioness found living on a concrete slab, chained to a wall by her drug-dealing owner. Or Natasha and Willow, a pair of Siberian lynx rescued from a fur farm where they lived in dirty metal sheds. As much as founder Carole Baskin adores her cats, she'd be happier if her service were never needed."
500 1/4/09 Jack Teague of The Express in the U.K. did a lovely piece about his visit to Big Cat Rescue and included, "There is a strong educational theme to the centre. Our guide Neil (bizarrely from Nottingham and working in Florida as a volunteer) told us how breeders often make a living by convincing people that cute cubs make good pets and the wild cats are simply abandoned when they get too big. Incredibly, many American states still do not prohibit the sale or private ownership of wild cats."
499 12/28/08 The good work of Big Cat Rescue was applauded in the U.K. newspaper, the Sunday Mirror, in an article called unseen Florida.
498 12/17/08 Carole Baskin was interviewed by NBC's Morgan Rose while attending the Iberville Parish hearing in an attempt to have the council enforce their 1993 ban on the exhibition of wild animals.
496 12/9/08 Jill Adler, reporter for Sports Guide, included a segment on Big Cat Rescue as a way to support Eco Tourism in Florida. Sports Guide has a circulation of 25,000.
492 11/8/08 Karen Hamlin of Travel World International Magazine did an excellent story about Big Cat Rescue and captured the essence of the big cat crisis.
490 10/28/08 Cindy Richards. reporter for the Travel Muse listed Big Cat Rescue as one of the three best things to do in Tampa.
478 9/20/08 Bill Taylor of the Toronto Star interviewed Scott Lope who knows all about Ontario’s notorious roadside zoos, some of which take advantage of inadequate legislation to shamefully mistreat their animals. “We have them here, too,” he says. “But roadside zoos are starting to go away in the States. People aren’t so keen any more to take their kids to see an animal in a cage.” Bill also went on to expose the white tiger fraud and talked about how Big Cat Rescue is a sanctuary, not a zoo.
474 9/11/08 The Look To The Stars Celebrity calendar featured Big Cat Rescue's Fur Ball and noted Bo Derek's support of our work.
472 8/30/08 The UK Mirror wrote, "It's hard to see animals like tigers, lions and jaguars behind bars, but this centre is doing good things for these incredible creatures. And seeing them up close is pretty impressive, if mildly heart attack-inducing." The UK is way ahead of most Americans in their understanding that big cats don't belong behind bars. They do not allow most of the abusive practices that result in exotic cats being used and abandoned. (circulation of 1,565,500 readers)
471 8/11/08 Zach Dunkin featured Big Cat Rescue in a piece called Sanctuary By The Sea at the Indy Star Zach recalls, "Access to the sanctuary is by guided tour only. Knowledgeable docents from a staff of more than 100 volunteers take groups of 10 to 15 visitors on a 90-minute tour along a winding, level trail of sand through the various cat habitats. As guests learn facts about each cat and their behaviors in the wild, they get a closer look than they would ever get at most zoos. Every cat housed here has a story, and the guides are eager to tell it -- like Nikita, the lioness found living on a concrete slab, chained to a wall by her drug-dealing owner. Or Natasha and Willow, a pair of Siberian lynx rescued from a fur farm where they lived in dirty metal sheds. As much as founder Carole Baskin adores her cats, she'd be happier if her service were never needed." Circulation 337,421.
470 7/25/08 Magnificent Obsessions, featuring Big Cat Rescue's Scott Lope aired in the U.S. as did the re -runs of Monster Quest and Uncut and Uncensored that also featured Big Cat Rescue's big cat expert. Running in NH and NJ
469 7/24/08 2,600 people called in for the launch of Living the Law of Attraction. Bob Doyle, Marie Diamond and Carole Baskin were interviewed live. You can order the book at Amazon.
467 7/21/08 Carole Baskin wrote a feature article for Advocacy for Animals called Man Eating Lions.
466 7/13/2008 Donna Miller, reporter for the Plains News Reporter in OH did a follow up story on the rescue of Joseph's Pride and discussed the fact that OH still fails to protect the animals and citizens due to their lack of laws.
465 6/30/08 Debbie Carson, staff writer for The News did an in depth article on the rehabilitation of Hope the baby bobcat and an interview with Big Cat Rescue's President, Jamie Veronica.
459 5/6/08 Cathy Carter Harley of the Beaufort Gazette writes, "Gussie Sirovatka has always loved animals, especially cats, but even her mother was surprised when the 9-year-old Port Royal Elementary School third-grader decided to take on fundraising efforts for Big Cat Rescue.
458 4/28/08 Big Cat Rescue was the featured story at Encyclopedia Britannica. Anita Wolff had contacted Jamie Veronica to ask for permission to use some of her photos and she suggested they contact Carole Baskin about some of the legislative work we are doing. Encyclopedia Britannica devotes an impressive section of their site as a source of information, a call for action, and a stimulus to thought regarding humanity's relationship with the animals with whom we share our planet. They support worldwide efforts to ensure humane treatment of animals, develop the understanding of their nature, promote their survival, and protect and restore the environment. We are honored to be a part of the great work they are doing to educate, inform and enlighten.
453 3/22/08 Jamie Veronica, President of Big Cat Rescue was credited in Cat Fancy magazine (annual cir. 3,060,020) with providing photos illustrating the difference in leopard and jaguar spots for their article about saving them in the wild called Jaguar: King of the South American Forest. To see the work Big Cat Rescue is doing in S.A. to save the jaguar visit TheJaguarTrust.com
452 3/14/08 John Woestendiek, reporter for the Baltimore Sun listed Big Cat Rescue as his top contact link in the ongoing saga about Puddy the Siberian lynx, owned illegally by Dan Vitilio.
450 3/1/08 Shaphali Jain of City Masala, the glossy lifestyle magazine of So. Asia did a two page cover story interview with Operations manager, Scott Lope and photos by Jamie Veronica called Hear Them Roar- The Jewels at Big Cat Rescue, Tampa. Cameron the lion looked positively regal on the front cover.
449 3/1/08 Wheels on the Road, the motorcycle's enthusiast's handbook included an article about Big Cat Rescue
448 3/10/08 Adam Stone, reporter for the Federal Times mentioned Big Cat Rescue as something unique in Tampa, FL.
446 2/27/08 Robert Sheer's article about Big Cat Rescue appeared in the Travel Lady.
439 2/8/08 Michaela Strachan's new series Animal Rescue Squad featured Big Cat Rescue on 2/8/08 and will air again 2/11 on Five in the UK. Michaela filmed a segment here for her last series called Michaela's Wild Challenge a while back too.
438 1/24/08 Apryl Chapman Thomas of SouthernByWays listed Big Cat Rescue as a must see attraction with your family in tow
436 1/12/08 The Delta Optimist ran Robert Scheer's story about Big Cat Rescue
435 1/11/08 Big Cat Rescue was mentioned in Langley Advance in an article by Robert Scheer that ran in 5 or 6 newspapers in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. The circulation of the six publications is estimated at 480,000. Read one version HERE
434 1/11/08 Traveling Tales featured Big Cat Rescue based upon a visit by journalist Robert Sheer
432 1/8/2008 Woman's World Magazine featured Big Cat Rescue as the #6 "must-see" destination in Tampa. Page 51 complete with pictures of the cats. Johnene Granger, a travel writer with Woman’s World named Big Cat Rescue as one of her 7 Must Sees in Tampa. The circulation of Woman's World is 1,542,394 and the ad rate is valued at $60,830.00 according to VisitTampaBay.com
431 1/7/08 Chosen as a Hot Pick for the Metropolitan Newsletter's March edition.
www.BigCatRescue.org: We maintain a web site that is considered THE source on exotic cat information that includes information on all 35 species of wild cats with photos and their sounds. Because we are home to the world’s largest and most diverse collection of exotic cats we provide photos that depict animals most people have never seen. Our photos are often downloaded by other animal related organizations who are doing their part to raise awareness. Our cats’ images have been included in documentaries, books, CD-ROMs, calendars, field guides, eBay guidelines to prevent the illegal fur trade, and even towels. All of this is encouraged to educate the public about the plight these animals face.
Our web site includes information that saves lives. We get calls and e mail from all around the world, at all hours of the night, from people facing a life or death situation with an exotic cat. From newborns to the geriatric, we have documented virtually every life threatening experience a cat can face, and all of the general questions about nutrition, vaccines, cage design, and animal husbandry that we can answer. With a mouse click we can direct the animal’s care giver to the solution they are looking for. Over and over again we are told that by having this information immediately available it has saved animals lives. Our website is enabled for immediate translation into 24 languages including Spanish, French, German, Czech, Italian, Norse, Polish, Netherlands, Chinese, Japanese, Portuguese, Danish, Romanian, Russian and Hebrew.
The web site uses all of the latest in cutting edge technology and incorporates many interactive games, puzzles and videos about exotic animals and the issues they face in captivity and in the wild.
Some of the pages are formally translated into Spanish and German and we devote a lot of our resources to telling the animal’s stories via photos, slideshows and videos that are capable of transcending language barriers. We have converted many of the key pages into audio to assist the blind, the illiterate and the very young.
Big Cat Rescue’s web site includes free teacher’s resources, including age appropriate study guides in reading, writing, math and science at bigcatrescue.org/teachersresource. These include study materials, tests, and activities to make learning fun and memorable.
Better Laws to Protect Exotic Cats
www.CatLaws.com is an interactive portion of our web site that has enjoyed continued growth and influence in legislative matters both in the U.S. and abroad.
From 1/1/2008 through 9/9/10 4,545 of our online supporters sent letters to the Chinese government urging them to ban the farming of captive tigers for their fur, bones and organs. Huge gaps in U.S. regulations for tigers held in captivity could make the big cats a target for illegal trade, wildlife trade monitoring group TRAFFIC and World Wildlife Fund found in the first-ever comprehensive report on captive tiger regulations across the United States. The report, "Paper Tigers?: The Role of the U.S. Captive Tiger Population in the Trade in Tiger Parts," found there are no reliable regulatory mechanisms to keep track of captive tigers in the United States. Big Cat Rescue provided investigators with crucial data and enabled them to see how the lack of protective laws and enforcement are exploited by animal abusers in the real world.
Thanks to all of our 70,000+ supporters who wrote letters, attended town hall meetings and met with their lawmakers, the world is a little kinder place. Many of the worst breeders, dealers and tiger-tamer-wanabees were finally shut down. Most of these collectors were fined or shut down by USDA or the state, or both in some cases:
2010 Big Cat Bans Enacted
FL Sept. 1, 2010: The Florida Wildlife Commission passes final rules on the keeping of wild animals with many more restrictions.
FL June 23, 2010: Thanks to thousands of letters from Big Cat AdvoCats the Florida Wildlife Commission agreed to change the wording of their Nuisance Wildlife rules so that bobcats who are trapped as nuisance wildlife may not be killed, but rather must be released. While our 2,000+ letters asked that bobcats be removed from the list of nuisance wildlife we are still thankful that the FWC has decided to at least spare the life of bobcats who are trapped this way. We will continue to educate the FWC and the public as to why bobcats are so necessary to our ecosystem so that they may soon be removed from the list of animals that may be trapped.
FL June 23, 2010: Animal AdvoCats vs Animal Terrorists. The FWC agreed to ban the practice of "fox penning" which was a blood sport in 16 locations in FL where foxes, coyotes and bobcats would trapped or purchased from trappers to be turned loose in fenced areas for the purpose of training hunting dogs. Packs of dogs would be turned loose in the pens and scored on how persistent they were in chasing the wildlife. The FWC had rules that required hiding places for the wildlife, but investigators found that the operators would often block the access to the safety areas so that the foxes, coyotes and bobcats could be cornered and ripped apart by the dogs for the amusement and betting opportunities of the dog owners. For the first time in the history of the FWC meetings that we have attended since 1993 there were more animal advocates than animal terrorists in the room to testify. 52 concerned citizens spoke up in favor of a ban while only 20 animal abusers / hunters spoke up in favor of continuing the blood sport as part of their "cultural heritage and God given right." As more of these egregious practices are exposed we expect the number of main stream Americans who show up and speak up to increase.
FL June 3, 2010: Thanks to thousands of letters from Big Cat AdvoCats the legislature amended Florida Statutes 379.374 Bond required, amount. (2) No person, party, firm, association, or corporation shall possess or exhibit to the public either with or without charge or admission fee, any Class I wildlife, as defined in s. 379.303 and commission rule, without having first guaranteed financial responsibility, in the sum of $10,000, for any liability which may be incurred in the possession or exhibition to the public of Class I wildlife. The commission shall adopt, by rule, the methods of payment that satisfy the financial responsibility, which may include cash, the establishment of a trust fund, an irrevocable letter of credit, casualty insurance, a corporate guarantee, or any combination thereof, in the sum of $10,000 which shall be posted with the commission. In lieu of the $10,000 financial responsibility guarantee required in this subsection, the person, party, firm, association, or corporation has the option to maintain comprehensive general liability insurance, with minimum limits of $2 million per occurrence and $2 million annual aggregate, as shall protect the person, party, firm, association, or corporation from claims for damage for personal injury, including accidental death, as well as claims for property damage which may arise. Proof of such insurance shall be submitted to the commission. Effective July 1, 2010. In 2009 there were 111 Class I possessors in FL who managed to escape the bond requirement because they claimed they were not "exhibitors." This new language was necessary to close the loophole in the 2007 law so that all "possessors" of Class I animals must post this minimal bond.
OH July 1, 2010: A deal struck between The Humane Society of the United States, Ohio agriculture leaders and Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland will lead to major animal welfare improvements in Ohio on a raft of issues to protect exotic, domestic and farmed animals. The agreement includes recommendations from all of the parties for the Ohio Livestock Care Standards Care Board, the Legislature, and the Governor to ban the acquisition of dangerous exotic animals as pets, such as primates, bears, lions, tigers, large constricting and venomous snakes, crocodiles and alligators.
Germany June 17, 2010: The zoo director and three of the staff at the Magdeburg Zoo were convicted of cruelty to animals for killing three tiger cubs who were the result of a hybrid breeding at the zoo. The zoo had breed a Siberian tiger to a Sumatran tiger. All of the tigers in the U.S. that are referred to as Bengal tigers are actually hybrids of Bengal and Siberian tigers as the result of the white tiger craze when Bengal tigers were inbred to the point of non existence in America. A fine of 8,000 euros was suspended upon the condition that the zoo not kill cubs as the result of their own improper breeding plans. The Magdeburg zoo case drew attention to the common practice of zoos breeding and killing animals to keep youngsters on exhibit.
2009 Big Cat Bans Enacted
AL, Albertville 5/7/09: “People should be able to walk their neighborhood without fear,” Albertville police Chief Benny Womack. The ordinance approved unanimously by the council Monday covers “ any mammal, amphibian, reptile or fowl which is of a species which, due to size, vicious nature or other characteristics would constitute a danger to human life, physical well-being, or property…” Womack said the law covers the manner in which animals are to be kept, the construction of pens and the requirement that they meet all zoning and building codes. The law governs the display of proper warning signs, which will be provided by the police department. All owners of animals included in the ordinance must register and obtain a permit for the animals, provide two color photographs and provide proof of a minimum of $100,000 in liability insurance.
CA, South Tahoe 4/8/09: A ban on the retail sale of cats and dogs was approved to curb the resale of dogs and cats bred in mills. Breeders still can sell directly to people, and stores can work with rescue groups and shelters to have cats and dogs adopted at their businesses. "We understand that this is the first such ordinance in North America," said Dawn Armstrong of the Lake Tahoe Humane Society & SPCA. "Others can now take courage. With the investigations and the work being done in Southern California and in other states, it just may be the beginning of the end of the puppy mill industry."
FL, Clearwater: This rule was first discovered to be on the books in 2009, but it is unknown as to when it originated. Sec. 8.03. Keeping of certain animals prohibited. No animals, and in particular an animal which by its nature is wild and untamed, bees, reptiles, fowl or livestock, including horses, mules, cows, sheep, hogs or calves, except as otherwise provided in this chapter, shall be kept, harbored, raised or permitted to run at large on any property either public or private within the city limits of the city by any person. (Code 1980, § 91.03)
FL, Deland 5/11/09: Deland requires that all pet cats and dogs be sterilized to prevent unwanted litters from ending up in the county pound.
FL, Ft. Pierce 4/11/09: Pet owners who don’t spay and neuter their cats and dogs must pay a $75 annual fee to register and license the animals, while owners who sterilize their animals would pay $10 annually. The goal is to push people toward sterilizing their animals to limit the number of strays. Failure to comply the city’s ordinance could result in a $100 civil fine for the first offense, $200 for second offense and mandatory court for third offense.
FL, Lee County - Cape Coral 5/30/09: Lee County Animal Services is instituting a trap, neuter, and release program (or TNR) in hopes of controlling the feral cat population. A first for Lee County, the program was developed with help from the public as well as utilizing input from University of Florida. The TNR program hopes to put power into the hands of the public by offering education, traps, and assistance in catching cats.
FL, Ormand Beach 5/24/09: Mandatory sterilization of pet cats and dogs to prevent shelter deaths.
HI 5/18/09: Animals can be shielded by temporary restraining orders and will receive greater protection from pet hoarders after state lawmakers passed two pieces of legislation aimed at expanding and clarifying animal cruelty laws. Defines an animal hoarder as an individual found in possession of more than 15 dogs, cats or a combination of dogs and cats. The previous number was 20. The bill also clarifies the misdemeanor offense of depriving an animal of sustenance, including food, water and shelter. The bill is aimed at owners who obsessively collect animals and kennel them.
IN, Richmond 4/7/09: The Richmond Common Council passed proposed revisions to the city code regarding domestic and wild animal care and control in the city. Council voted 6-3 in favor of the proposed changes that had to do with care, trapping, breeding, controlled colonies of cats and free roaming animals.
MI, Cadillac 4/8/09: The new taxidermy laws make taxidermists dispose of all animal waste in a type two landfill. They must also keep more detailed records of animals they work on and keep the records for six years. Permit and tag fees are also going up.
MI, Manchester Village: April 20th the Manchester Village Council adopted a new ordinance regarding exotic and wild pets. Village Ordinance 272, bans the owning or keeping of exotic animals in the community and was passed unanimously. "If you allow someone to keep an alligator in their homes and do nothing about it, how far can people go?" Village Mgr. Jeff Wallace said. "That's why we tried to make it as specific as possible." The general penalties for violation of the ordinance could include up to a $1,000 fine and possible 90 days in jail. Each violation is considered a separate offense.
MI, Rosemont 4/9/09: The city of Rosemont banned steel jawed traps after news reports of dogs being killed in them. This ban will help protect bobcats, lynx and domestic cats too.
OH, Perrysburg March 6, 2009: Pending ban. The law, as originally drafted, would allow police to criminally charge any exotic pet owner. "It shall be unlawful for any person in the city of Perrysburg to keep, maintain, or have possession or control over any 'exotic animal,'" the proposed law reads.
OR March 25, 2009: Pending ban. The Oregon Senate passed legislation 3/25/09 to protect exotic animals and phase out Oregon's role in the permitting of exotic pets. Included under the new exotic-pets category are non-domestic cats, non-human primates, non-domestic dogs, crocodiles, and alligators. SB 391 will move the majority of the permitting process to the USDA and give current owners up to a year to renew their permit and then discontinue issuing permits after that date. "These animals pose a danger to our children, our domestic pets, and once cornered, our law enforcement officials don't have the appropriate training to deal with them," said Senate Majority Leader Richard Devlin (D-Tualatin). "This is common sense legislation." SB 391 also prohibits the breeding of exotic animals. The bill will now go move to the House for consideration. Wildlife Images director Dave Siddon could tell countless horror stories of wild animals, from lions to bears, adopted as cute babies then cast away after gaining several hundred pounds. "We probably are approached by a half-dozen people a month that have wild animals as a pet and they need a home for it," said Siddon, whose father founded the animal rehabilitation center near Merlin. "Everything from bears to chinchillas and everything in between."
PA Lebanon City Council June 3, 2009: Bans snakes larger than 4 1/2 feet long, reptiles over ten pounds and ALL exotic animals must be kept in their cages. Councilman Wiley Parker said fines range from $50 to $300.
SD 2/4/09: Hunting Mountain Lions With Dogs Banned. Bill #: SB75 would have allowed dogs to be used in the hunting of mountain lions. Fortunately, this horrible bill failed in the Senate (6 Yeas, 27 Nays)
VT 8/28/09: Price Chopper pulled their sponsorship of the Champlain Valley Exposition when then learned that the fair was going to host a big cat act.
The Felid TAG (Taxon Advisory Group) publicly denounced the practice of keeping exotic cats as pets.
Australia, Adelaide Hills 5/28/09: The RSPCA says by-laws introduced by an Adelaide hills council to reduce cat numbers should be considered across the state. Owners will have to microchip and register cats under new laws. There will also be a limit of two cats per household. "However we do think the only permanent solution to controlling wild and domestic cat populations is desexing." Meanwhile the Kangaroo Island Council will consider introducing a limit on the number of cats that can be kept on a property. The council introduced strict by-laws in 2005 that require compulsory desexing, microchipping and registering of cats.
Australia, Ipswich, Queensland, 6/7/09: Ipswich bans circus animals. The ipswitch City Council has ruled exotic circus animals are a relic of a cruel past. On July 1 Ipswich will become the first Queensland city to ban circuses with exotic animals from using any land under council ownership or control. Councillor Paul Tully said the time had come for Australia to unite and ban the cruel use of circus animals. "These animals are put in tiny cages for their whole lives and carted from one end of Australia to the other for their public performances," he said. "This is the beginning of the end of animal circuses in Australia." The Brisbane council's Labor opposition has said it too would support such a ban.
British Columbia 3/17/09: The tragic death two years ago of a woman killed by a caged tiger as children looked on helped spur the British Columbia government to implement new rules to ban dangerous pets says Environment Minister Barry Penner. 1,256 species that pose a serious threat to public safety, including leopards, lions, tigers, boa constrictors, pythons, monkeys, chimps and caimans have been banned. "We are determined to do something to improve public safety while also protecting these species from improperly being brought into British Columbia. The only effective way to prevent this abuse and neglect is through the introduction of regulations," said Penner. Read quote by Rob Laidlaw, Director of Zoocheck Canada Inc.
Bahrain 4/11/09: Authorities in Bahrain have stepped up security on the borders after inspectors found exotic wild animals caged in residential areas as pets. "Traders and buyers should understand that Bahrain is not the right environment for such species. It is illegal to keep them in these conditions and some wild animals, like tigers and crocodiles, endanger lives," said Salman Abdulnabi, head of the Animal Wealth Directorate.
Bolivia, South America 6/2009: Bolivia's president, Evo Morales, signed Law 4040 -- banning wild and domestic animals in traveling circuses throughout his country. This is the first national circus ban in South America and the world's first ban on ALL circus acts. This victory was the culmination of years of work by Animal Defenders International (ADI), local animal protection groups and individuals throughout Bolivia.
South Africa 6/15/09: "Canned" lion hunting - the commercial shooting of captive-bred lions for trophies - appears to have been finally canned itself by a Bloemfontein High Court decision that requires all captive cats to live free for two years before they can be slaughtered. Now questions are being raised as to what will happen to the 4,000 captive-bred lions in South Africa. The head of the Endangered Wildlife Trust, Yolan Friedman, has applauded the decision which she said would effectively put an end to canned lion hunting in South Africa. "We believe that the principles of ethical, humane treatment of all species should never be compromised for the economic enrichment of a few, as has been the case with canned lion hunting in South Africa," she said. Friedman urged the government to begin a process immediately to avert "a welfare crisis" in which the country's existing 4 000 captive-bred lions could "fall prey to neglect and cruel treatment" now that they had lost their economic value. "To these animals, whose lives so far have been nothing more than a caged existence to provide a trophy to an unethical hunter, their future remains uncertain," she said.
Thorold, Ontario 12/8/09 passed exotic pet law banning ownership of primates (including apes), tigers, leopards, panthers, cougars, most reptiles, dangerous snakes, elephants, marine mammals, venomous snakes and some other wildlife not native to Canada. The law was passed after Jaguars were found to be kept as pets there.
2008 Big Cat Bans Enacted
CITES Decision 14.69: Parties with intensive operations breeding tigers on a commercial scale shall implement measures to restrict the captive population to a level supportive only to conserving wild tigers; tigers should not be bred for trade in their parts and derivatives. (Most of the tiger breeding in the U.S. is for photo booths and petting sessions. None of the breeding of generic tigers does anything to conserve wild tigers. Ask your lawmakers to uphold this CITES decision and end the breeding of tigers outside of the Species Survival Plans in AZA accredited zoos.)
Brazil: 12/11/08 After ongoing efforts by many animal organizations an animal group in Brazil has successfully lobbied and a law has been passed banning all animals in circuses there.
Iberville, LA: Referring back to a law that has been on Iberville Parish's books since 1993, the LA Wildlife and Fisheries Dept. finally banned the notorious Tiger Truck Stop from using live tigers as a public display. This ends a sad history of 21 years of tigers in small concrete cages in the middle of this busy truck stop, with the exception of Tony the truck stop tiger who was grandfathered in and continues to pace in his small, dank cage right next to the gas pumps where truckers frequent 24/7. When Tony is gone, they will not be allowed, under the new law, to display another tiger.
Johor, Malaysia Bans ALL Commercial Hunting: The Johor government banned all forms of commercial hunting. Johor is home to the Endau-Rompin National Park, the second largest national park in Peninsular Malaysia. The state will lose some money in licensing fees -- in 2006, it issued more than 2,000 hunting licenses -- but that pales into insignificance when compared with the benefits of such a move. Johor wants to save the tiger. The ban would also help the Department of Wildlife and National Parks to collect data, train staff and curb wildlife crime. Classified as an endangered species, the tiger is fully protected. But its food is not. The ban should ensure that the population of animals that the tiger preys on -- such as wild boar and deer -- will increase. If the tigers have sufficient food, they are also unlikely to wander into areas with human habitation.
Australia: August 3, 2008 Environment Minister Peter Garrett immediately banned the import of Savannah cats into Australia upon learning they were a cross between a Serval and domestic cat. He said the Savannah cat posed "an extreme threat to Australia's native wildlife".
MO: Effective March 2008 MO Wildlife Code changed as follows:
Safety: Because of the inherent danger and potential liability associated with the possession of bears, mountain lions, wolves and their hybrids, the Conservation Commission now requires owners of these animals to identify each individual with a microchip embedded under the animal's skin. The owners must also submit a blood or tissue sample for DNA analysis. All animals must be registered with the Department when acquired, born, at death, or when sold. This will aid enforcement of illegal sales of these animals and will help Department biologists distinguish escaped and released captives from wild animals.
MO Conservationist magazine Feb issue at email@example.com where Wildlife Code book for 2008 has been released.
Now help get SB 1032 passed at CatLaws.com.
Sheriff Kevin T. Harrison asks county to ban private possession of dangerous exotics
December 11, 2008 Park Hills, MO bans most exotic animals, except small monkeys, within the city limits.
OK: 5/7/08 Gov. Henry signed Senate Bill 1463 into law last week. Sen. James A. Williamson (R-Tulsa) introduced the legislation which prohibits the use of computer-assisted remote control hunting of wildlife. The bill also makes it illegal to engage in, sell, offer for sale, assist in or provide facilities for computer-assisted remote control hunting.
Thirty-eight states prohibit Internet hunting, and a federal bill introduced in the U.S. Congress – S. 2422 and H.R. 2711, the Computer- Assisted Remote Hunting Act – would end Internet hunting nationwide.
UT: Internet Hunting Banned. Gov. Huntsman signed Senate Bill 164 into law. Sen. Michael Waddoups (R-6th) introduced the legislation which prohibits the use of a computer or other device to remotely hunt an animal.
USDA roared out in support of Haley's Act HR 1947 but Congress never took the time to hear the bill in 2008.
Animal Abusers Shut Down
Many of the worst breeders, dealers and tiger-tamer-wanabees were finally shut down. Most of these collectors were fined or shut down by USDA or the state, or both in some cases. Even the FL abusers are listed here because of their contribution to a national problem we are solving:
CA: Hesperia Zoo AKA Cinema Safari Zoo owned by Stephanie Taunton was put on probation and fined $30,000 by USDA.
FL: Horseshoe Creek owned by Darryl Atkinson was shut down by USDA and FL.
FL: Wild Things' land owned by Kathy Stearns went into foreclosure and bankruptcy.
FL: Amazing Exotics appears to have been shut down. It was notorious for allowing contact between large exotic cats and the public for a fee. The head of their tiger-tamer-wanabee program was Ron Holiday (real name Ron Guay) who gained fame in the HBO movie Cat Dancers and the book by the same name. His career in dancing with big cats ended when a white tiger he had raised from a cub killed his wife and his lover within a few days of each other in 1998.
IN: Great Cats of Indiana, formerly known as Cougar Valley Farms, Inc., owned by Robert B. Craig and Laura Proper came under investigation by USDA
IN: Ervin's Jungle Wonders owned by Ervin Hall was shut down by USDA for a three year term.
MO: Wesa-A-Geh-Ya owned by Sandra Smith was shut down after a visitor lost his leg to a tiger.
MS: Cougar Haven closed its doors for good, sending the last 3 big cats to Big Cat Rescue.
NC: Metrolino Wildlife Park owned by Steven Macaluso was shut down by USDA.
NE: Zoo Nebraska was ordered to find appropriate homes for their big cats and bears.
OH: Pearson's L & L Exotics owned by Lorenzo Pearson was shut down by USDA following six years of violations.
TX: Zoo Dynamics, owned by Marcus Cook was fined $100,000.00
TX: Wild Animal Orphanage closed their doors in September 2010 after investigation the Attorney General for fraudulent fundraising practices. 363 animals, mostly big cats and primates, are being disbursed to other sanctuaries.
Australia: Craig Bush, the "Lion Man" was ousted from the Zion Wildlife Gardens by his mom.
Our On-Site Visitors Come From Around the Globe
Our visitors: People come from all around the world, just to see Big Cat Rescue. Below are just a 942 from Jan. 1, 2008 until May 30, 2010:
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|ISLE OF MAN||
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Volunteers and AdvoCats
Volunteers: We have 100+ volunteers, but it only takes one, like Daphne Butters, who lives in England and has been coming to Big Cat Rescue annually since 2001, to make a big impact internationally. Whilst here, she works on site, but more importantly, she takes her experiences and knowledge gained at Big Cat Rescue and uses it in various educational environments in Great Britain.
She started by writing articles about her experiences for publication in cat magazines, including The Maine Coon Cat Club Newsletter, Norwegian Forest Cat Club Newsletter, Seal & Blue Birman Cat Club Magazine and most recently, Our Cats Magazine. As well as being entertaining, these articles were written to educate cat lovers about the plight of unwanted exotic cats in the USA. This was particularly alien to British readers, since the laws in the UK are much stricter and individuals cannot own an exotic cat without a specific license, making it impossible for most people to own a big cat. Articles have appeared in the following Maine Coon Cat Club Newsletters: Summer of 2008 and the Spring of 2009. Big Cat Rescue was also featured in the UK Our Cats Magazine in 2008. According to feedback, these articles have been very informative in terms of the difficulties of keeping big cats.
Daphne works at Fir Vale School, Sheffield, South Yorkshire, a school catering to children aged 11 to 16 years.
Many of her students come from poor areas, some are refugees and a considerable number have English as a second or alternative language (ESOL). This means that engagement in the classroom is often difficult since the children do not understand the English language well. Most have no pets and have never touched a domestic cat. They care little about the environment or the effect of poaching, climate change or deforestation on the planet. Solomon’s Cat, a play by David Holman which follows the adventures of a young Tanzanian boy as he tries to save a leopardess from poachers and fur traders, is widely used in her school as a teaching book. After finishing the book, Daphne is invited into the class to talk to students about Big Cat Rescue (aided by photographs and video that she has taken at the sanctuary, since visual aids are vitally important to ESOL students). She then discusses extinction and conservation, finishing off by asking students to visit the Big Cat Rescue website, choose a cat and prepare a PowerPoint Presentation on the animal to include diet, size, habitat and vulnerability in the wild. This encourages students to carry out independent learning, improves their English language and their IT skills. Students become passionate about their chosen cat when they deliver their presentations to the rest of the class during the following lesson. In some students, this instigates an interest in animals, which the school supports by running a zoology club, under Daphne’s supervision.
Continuously from 2002-2010, Daphne taught a course on animal care to a group of low ability students, who were incapable of following a standard curriculum timetable, either because of language difficulties or behavioral problems. This included a module on animal welfare including wild animals in captivity and conservation in the wild and much of the module was based on information from Big Cat Rescue, including cage construction and enrichment. As part of this, the students had to design an enrichment toy for a cat. This was done after watching video taken at Big Cat Rescue, showing cats being given various forms of enrichment including pumpkins, balls, and scent impregnated paper bags. The students all successfully gained an OCN Level 1 qualification in Improve Own Learning and also an ASDAN Bronze Award qualification (UK recognized qualifications). For most, this was the only qualification they left school with, and it helped to build up their esteem and encourage them to apply to go on to further education as well as develop an interest in animal care.
All state run schools in the UK follow the National Curriculum. At Key Stage 3 (11-14 years) an area of study is ‘Living Things in Their Environment and Feeding relationships’. Within the science department at Fir Vale, Daphne teaches students about this subject using examples of animals at Big Cat Rescue, such as why wild cats are living closer to civilization because their natural habitat is being destroyed (e.g. Faith the bobcat’s story). Using true stories and actual video from Big Cat Rescue helps the children to understand the impact of human civilization development and has proved to be much more effective than using the textbooks alone. They particularly like Faith’s story since it has a positive ending when she is released back into the wild. It has been noted that exam results in this area have improved since this teaching method was included.
September 18, 2008-present: Daphne did her first Big Cat Rescue talk of the year for the 11 year olds. This year with no prompting they asked why white tigers are being bred when they cannot hide in the forests from poachers. It’s a different aspect from what we have seen in people before who thought that white tigers were a prized anomaly. These 11 years olds are showing a new negative attitude towards commercial tiger breeding. On their own they realized that no good can come of purposely breeding animals who cannot survive in the wild.
Daphne says that thanks to the knowledge and experiences gained at Big Cat Rescue, hundreds of students have benefited educationally over the last six years and are now much more aware of conservation issues worldwide, including ethical and financial problems, such as the plight of snow leopards and humans in the Himalayas. She has organized debates between groups of students relating to this subject, and in particular, students at Fir Vale have a special interest in this area of the world since many are of Pakistani background.
Other schools in the Sheffield area are now becoming interested in the work that Daphne does at Fir Vale and she has been invited to visit other educational establishments to give talks about the zoology club and conservation, again giving presentations on the work of Big Cat Rescue. After discussion with the school’s senior management, it was felt this educational area would be of interest to many schools and Daphne is currently in negotiations with other schools in Sheffield, enabling her to give talks to younger pupils (5-11 years) to help them to understand and develop an interest in conservation and correct animal care, from an early age.
Something which started as a visit to an exotic cat sanctuary back in 2001 has now impacted on children in the UK, as well as adults though articles they have read. Daphne hopes to continue to expand her use of Big Cat Rescue resources to engage people, especially children which are our future generations, in developing a much greater interest in conservation worldwide. The most important thing to note here is that Daphne is just one volunteer who has taken that passion out to other countries to share it with her kinsmen.
While the money Big Cat Rescue invests into a healthier planet for all species is substantial, the investment in cultivating a society that honors and respects all life is immeasurable.